back to article South Korea kills ActiveX-based government digital certificate service

South Korea on Thursday shuttered a government-run digital certificate service that required the use of Microsoft’s ancient ActiveX technology. Microsoft launched ActiveX way back in 1996 and it was effectively the company’s riposte to Java. An evolution of Microsoft’s COM (Component Object Model) and OLE (object linking and …

  1. Schultz

    The digital certificate was painful for foreigners in Korea ...

    but once you got it working (tax season delights!), it unlocked a lot of online services. Now I expect another nightmare to get the new system working ...

    There are so many pitfalls you wouldn't expect: You name cannot exceed 4 characters but must match the full 20-characted name on your bank account. You name is either lastname/firstname, FirstnameLastname FIRSTNAME/LASTNAME, lastname_firstname, or some other unexpected combination thereof. Oh, and your mobile phone is registered on LASTNAMEFIRSTNAME and you will forever fail to authenticate with that. Then the English language registration site reliably fails after you filled three pages worth of information and the Korean language site doesn't accept your input in the whoknowshowmayfieldsIstillhaveotfillbeforethisends checkbox.

    It does train you Korean reading skills, however.


  2. bombastic bob Silver badge


    massive security crater, finally eliminated.

    (government mandated ActiveX to do online banking. what could POSSIBLY go wrong?)

    1. N2

      Re: FINALLY!

      Excellent news, meanwhile that dog of Adobe flashplayer has yet to be shot.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: FINALLY!

        The firing squad is due to arrive in 3 weeks time

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "in 1999, when it wasn’t the worst imaginable choice for the job"

    It might not have been the worst imaginable choice but any choice locking them in to proprietary software should have been seen as bad enough and Microsoft had already nailed its colours to the mast. How many non-backward compatible variations of .doc were in existence by then?

  4. MatsSvensson

    I dreamed that I went back in time to ActiveX. It was terrible!

    Well, you're safe and sound now, back with good old JavaScript.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. SecretSonOfHG

    ActiveX was an horrible idea from the beginning

    Native code execution in a web page from basically anywhere speaks a lot about the view MS had of the web and the internet in general back at that time. The idea itself not only dismisses any concerns about security, but also assumes everyone everywhere is running the same piece of software on the same processor architecture and instruction set. Both assumptions were already false when the idea of embedding ActiveX controls in a web page was conceived, but someone at MS was keen to ignore reality and proceed with something that in a matter of a couple of years failed in both fronts: ActiveX became one of the most prolific source of security holes in the history of computing and people started to use anything but Wintel boxes to browse the internet.

    Say again, who was the technology "visionary" at MS back then?

  6. I code for the bacon

    Was ActiveX Microsoft’s big mid-90s play for a cross-platform application delivery platform ?

    Yeah, late 90s / early 00s ActiveX was sooooooo cross-platform that it worked on Windows 9x, Windows NT and Windows 2000... (Oh, and pretty much on x86 only. I've never seen an ActiveX control deployed for use on Alpha/MIPS/PowerPC NT ports)

    1. hammarbtyp

      Re: Was ActiveX Microsoft’s big mid-90s play for a cross-platform application delivery platform ?

      To be fair, in the mid-90's that was pretty well Microsoft definition of cross platform.

      To take a quote from the blues brother film

      What kind of music do you usually have here?

      Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western

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